Soy to one-month top as fresh sales to China fuel trade optimism

Reuters September 13, 2019

CHICAGO: US soybean futures jumped to a one-month high on Thursday on news of fresh export sales to China and signs of a thaw in the US trade row with the world’s biggest buyer of the oilseed.

Corn and wheat futures also rose, following soybeans. Meanwhile, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) lowered its estimates of the US 2019, corn and soybean crops, but not as much as some analysts had expected.

As of 1:02 p.m. CDT (1802 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans were up 26 cents at $8.92-1/2 per bushel after reaching $8.93, the contract’s highest since Aug. 14.

CBOT December corn was up 6 cents at $3.66 a bushel and December wheat was up 7-1/4 cents at $4.84-3/4 a bushel.

Chinese importers bought at least 10 cargoes of US soybeans on Thursday, or about 600,000 tonnes, for shipment from Pacific Northwest export terminals from October to December, two traders with direct knowledge of the deals said.

The deals, China’s first US soybean purchases in a month and the largest since at least June, come ahead of US-China trade talks set for early October in Washington.

Lower-level US and Chinese officials are expected to meet within days.

“Soybeans are higher because of the China news,” said Brian Hoops, president of Midwest Market Solutions.

Beijing earlier on Thursday said Chinese companies have started to inquire about prices for US agricultural goods purchases, and Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures  surged their daily limit.

The US-China trade developments overshadowed the USDA’s monthly crop production report for September.

In it, the USDA lowered its US 2019/20 corn yield estimate to 168.2 bushels per acre (bpa), down from 169.5 in August but above the average estimate in a Reuters analyst poll of 167.2 bpa.

Similarly, the USDA trimmed its US soybean yield estimate to 47.9 bpa, down from 48.5 in August but above the average Reuters poll estimate of 47.2 bpa.

The USDA cut its US corn production estimate to 13.799 billion bushels and pared its soybean production estimate to 3.633 billion bushels.

“There’s uncertainty with the acres and uncertainty with the yield yet. The October (USDA) report will probably be more important than the September report. Bottom line, there’s no respect for this September report because the crop’s just too immature,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based US Commodities.

Favorable US weather forecasts hung over the market, with warmer-than-normal temperatures across much of the Midwest expected to boost supply by accelerating the maturity of late-planted crops and cutting the risk of frost damage.

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